On Monday night, we illuminated the side of several buildings in Manchester with images of George Osborne’s face eclipsing the sun.
The Conservative Party Conference is in Manchester this week and we wanted to take our campaign to the heart of their debate.
We know Conservative supporters, like the rest of the British public, support renewable energy.
Last week, a roomful of Conservative councillors unanimously approved a community solar farm in Balcombe, West Sussex. According to a recent poll from Co-Op Energy, 65% of Conservative voters would be quite likely or very likely to support a solar farm within 2 miles of their home. Solar is also the most popular choice amongst Conservatives if you ask them to pick their preferred source of electricity (25% pick solar, in comparison, only 3% say shale gas). Moreover, when asked if household bills should include a small levy to support growth of renewable energy in the UK, support was actually higher amongst Conservative voters (50%, compared to 47% in general).
We also know British solar is an amazing success story.
Britain might not be known for its sunshine, but solar power in the UK has expanded rapidly in recent years. 20 years ago, there was one solar home in Britain, but latest government data shows the average UK street now has two solar homes. A record amount of solar power was added to the world’s grids in 2014 with Britain leading solar expansion in Europe. By the end of 2014 there was nearly five gigawatts of solar photovoltaic panels installed in the UK, almost double the figure of 2.8GW at the end of 2013.
The cuts will stop all this.
According to new analysis unveiled by the Solar Trade Association last week, 35,000 people in the UK are employed by the solar industry, and a whopping 27,000 of these people’s jobs are at risk if the cuts go ahead.
In his conference speech yesterday, Osborne declared that “we’ve got to be the builders... I’m not prepared to turn around to my children or indeed anyone else’s child, and say: I’m sorry, we didn’t build for you."
Exactly. So keep building British solar. Don’t break it.